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What is a Bar Course?

A Bar course is the vocational training section of the Bar, the Bar being an exam which lawyers must pass to be able to practice law. Previously, there was one Bar course that lawyers needed to pass, called the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). This was changed in 2019, when students training to become a qualified barrister needed to complete one of the four current Bar courses:

+ The Bar Training Course (BTC)

+ The Bar Practice Course (BPC)

+ The Bar Vocational Course (BVC)

+ The Bar Vocational Studies (BVS)

The shift from the BPTC to the new Bar courses was driven by a mission to make the Bar course a more flexible experience, enabling more face-to-face teaching, more up-to-date technology for faster progression checks and more effective integration of the necessary knowledge and skills necessary to becoming a qualified barrister. To be able to apply for study on a BPC, BVC, BTC or, BVS course, applicants must have a minimum of a 2:2-degree classification, with some providers asking for a minimum of a 2:1classification, making it useful to check the course specifications with the university you intend to enrol with. Applicants must speak fluent English and apply to an Inn Court by the 31st of May to start the course. Applicants must also pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) in order to successfully enrol, a 60 multiple-choice question test which looks at applicants logical and critical thinking, reasoning skills and legal knowledge and lasts 55 minutes.

 

What do the Bar courses assess?

The Bar courses are designed to evaluate applicant’s skills and knowledge, necessary for successful practice as a student and eventually as a professional barrister. Specialist skills across aptitude, knowledge, attitude, competency and application are required for successful training in one of the 4 main Bar courses, BTC, BPC, BVC or BVS. BTC, BPC and BVC Bar courses can be studied in different structures:

+ Students can complete the Bar course all in one, meaning full-time study across a year or part-time over a year+.

+ Students can complete the Bar course in two parts, either meaning that students will work independently for part, or that they will receive face-to-face teaching over both parts.

+ Students can complete the Bar course alongside study of Bar Degree Training, involving vocational elements throughout.

It is important to remember that the course styles available will be dependent on the University you have chosen to study with as the providers may have varied rules.

Bar courses are designed to engage students with the practical (vocational) elements of training to be a barrister, incorporating briefs tailored specifically to emulate real-life scenarios which barristers are likely to face in their early career. Bar course duration is dependent on the style of learning, with full-time study lasting a year and part-time study options varying, with an average of 2 years for completion. The classroom time for students enrolled on full-time courses will sit within 10 to 16 hours a week, with a day reserved in the week for students to engage with practical elements, involving pro bono work and court room observations.

 

 

Compulsory Course Modules:

Bar courses are made up of many modules, including compulsory subject areas:

+ Advocacy

+ Civil Litigation & Evidence

+ Conference Skills

+ Criminal Litigation

+ Drafting

+ Legal Research

+ Opinion Writing

+ Professional Ethics

 

 

What score should I be aiming to achieve?

The assessment criteria vary between specific course types and providers, with applicants receiving two attempts to pass the Bar course exams. Knowledge is tested through written exams across all of the Bar courses, with practical exercises used to test conference skills and adaptability, usually involving actors and unknown themes. The BSB marks assessments within the Civil and Criminal Litigation sector, also setting these exams for applicant to sit.

 

 

Where can I study a Bar course?

Compiled below is a list of Universities currently offering authorised Bar courses. These institutions are referred to as Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs) and are able to offer Bar courses due to authorisation by the BSB.

+ BPP University – Bar Training Course (BTC)

+ Cardiff University – Bar Training Course (BTC)

+ Manchester Metropolitan University (BTC)

+ Northumbria – Bar Course

+ Nottingham Trent University – Bar Training Course (BTC)

+ The City Law School, City, University of London – Bar Vocational Studies (BVS)

+ The Inns of Court College of Advocacy – ICCA Bar Course

+ The University of Hertfordshire – Bar Practice Course (BPC)

+ The University of Law – Bar Practice Course (BPC)

+ The University of the West of England – Bar Training Course (BTC)

 

 

How do I prepare for the Bar Course?

Reviewing and practicing using online practice papers for the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) can be beneficial as they enable one to effectively manage time keeping, whilst also adjusting to the wording of questions and the varying levels of difficulty, gaining familiarity with the content that may be likely to arise. Self-assessment of your general areas where you could develop your knowledge further will enable you to be self-aware in your studies, supplementing what you need to practice more and strengthening your pre-existing strengths. The BCAT tests your ability to think critically, applying logic to your answer, finding reason and applying your legal knowledge. With this is mind, it is important to consider the knowledge and practical skills that will be necessary for successful study on BTC, BPC, BVC or BVS. It is important to remember that the content in the Bar course that you select will contain classroom learning as well as on-site training, meaning flexibility in your ability to work under various conditions is imperative. Ultimately, the more time you spend practicing the necessary aptitude skills, the more confident and prepared you are likely to feel when pursuing your Bar course, a feeling which should be reflected in your overall experience and outcome. Online and in-person tutoring can enable you to receive one on one, specially tailored support, enabling you to feel supported in your endeavours and to receive individualised resources and sessions that can develop your knowledge and expand your strengths.

 

 

BPC-BVC-BTC-BVS Tutors & Tuition London

Mayfair Consultants offer private tuition for clients preparing to endeavour onto a Bar course, and those seeking to learn more about their aptitude for Law. If you are preparing for this test, or for an interview in Law, our tutors can guide you through the whole process and help address potential weaknesses in your performance. We also offer private tuition for younger students with a budding interest in Law – including those taking Law AS- and A-Levels. Many of our tutors have direct experience of the Law sector and /or hold advanced qualifications in the field, making them best-placed to meet clients’ needs. If you’d like arrange private lessons or have any questions about our medicine tuition services please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606 or you can send us an email via our contact form.

 

 

Useful Bar Course links:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/law-sector/bar-courses

https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk

https://www.barcouncil.org.uk

http://www.cilex.org.uk

http://www.innertemple.org.uk

https://www.icca.ac.uk

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/law-sector/bar-courses 

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